Stop Trying So Hard

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.  Ephesians 2:8-10 (NLT)

If asked, I would have to admit I am a Type A personality.  Even though I believe that as I get closer to Jesus, that A inches more toward an A- or B+ because I am learning to let the Holy Spirit lead in my thoughts, my decisions and my reactions.

This is solely the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Nothing I do saves me. Nothing I accomplish helps me be Heaven-Bound. This is all the gift of God through Jesus. Imagine if getting to heaven were accomplished because of the tasks we did. Heaven would be filled with a bunch of competitive, over-achievers.  That might be a little annoying.  (Smile)

Today’s verse was summed up best by a paragraph in The Voice (a translation of the Bible):

The relationship between faith and works is often misunderstood. Some think that salvation is God’s reward for good deeds. If that’s true, then it can’t possibly be a gift. If it were a reward, then heaven would be a place where people might compare notes on what they did to make it through the gates. But Paul is confident in the truth of the gospel. The truth is that salvation is God’s gift through Jesus. Grace and faith make salvation real in us. When we are transformed by grace, then we become His new creation and begin to live out the good works He has planned for us. Works, then, aren’t the cause of salvation; they are its result. To put it another way, works aren’t the means of salvation; they are its presence. 

If you are working to be saved; if you think that you have to check the box to be “right” with God; stop. What he wants is a relationship with you.  He wants your heart, not your deeds. When you give him that, he’ll do the rest.  He already has a plan.